(I don’t know why this moment made my day, but it did.) Grace and I get in the elevator this morning with three other people: an older Charlotte man and a young couple speaking to one another in some Western European language. The Charlottean, with typical city charm, says to all of us, “Brr! Is it cold enough for you? Winter is finally here!” Politely, we nod. But the young man draws his eyebrows together. “No. Winter is not here,” he says decidedly, with what Grace calls “a very sexy Russian accent.” The Charlottean seems put off for a moment by his brusqueness, but responds with a chuckle, “I guess it depends on where you grew up. Where did you grow up?” The young man looks him squarely in the face. “I grew up in the northern part of Siberia. This is not winter.”
My sisters and I have watched a lot of good movies in the past two days:
“Blood Diamond.” Djimon Honsou is beautiful (oh WOW). I generally don’t like Leonardo diCaprio, but I liked him in this film; his accent was great and added credibility to his character. Gripping. I don’t want a diamond ring anymore.
“The Hours.” I mean, if you want to try to capture the brilliance of Mrs. Dalloway in a film, I guess this is the best way to do it. Still, it comes nothing close to the real thing. Meryl Streep is always good and Kidman presented a difficult and likable Woolf. The music, which I know because it’s Kathryn’s exam time music, is beautiful.
“Juno.” Quirky and cute; genuine. Ellen Page is perfect and Michael Cera is his delightfully awkward self (just a slightly modified version of George Michael Bluth). The film made me burst into a tirade afterwards, though, about the general unfairness of pregnancy and how men who shirk marriage/parenting responsibilities perpetuate cycles of poverty. This is probably the topic that I get the most angry about, so don’t bring it up unless you’re looking for a tsunami of rage. Juno is shamed for being pregnant while Bleeker is congratulated; her father says, “I didn’t think he had it in him,” while he says to her, “I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when.” The woman bears all of the consequences of sex. Juno has to explain this to Bleeker at school: “You don’t have to wear the evidence of it under your sweater.” The woman carries the baby, delivers it, and raises it. Meanwhile, the man can do whatever he damn well pleases; he can leave her and go mess around with someone else. Unfair! Unjust! ... I can’t write about this anymore; it makes me far too angry.
Sigh. Onwards into other struggles. This break has been marked by a doubt that transcends almost every area of life. Usually, when I read my Bible in the mornings, I meditate on the passage and write down some observations. Lately, however, all I can write are questions, dozens and dozens of questions that don’t seem to lead to any answers. I have to be reminded that God is faithful; He will not abandon the work of His hands. But that is hard to believe. Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief.
In this state of wandering cynicism, I read the following Dickinson poem and it meant a tremendous amount to me. Now all I want to know is, When will Life step almost straight?
We grow accustomed to the Dark—
When Light is put away—
And when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye—
A Moment—we uncertain step
For newness of the night—
Then—fit our Vision to the Dark—
And meet the Road—erect—
And so of larger—Darknesses—
Those Evenings of the Brain—
When not a Moon disclose a sign—
Or star—come out—within—
The Bravest—grope a little—
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead—
But as they learn to see—
Either the Darkness alters—
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight—
And Life steps almost straight.